News and Notes: Forks and Skewers, Chess Life Online, Middle Aged Patzer

  • Funny comic I saw this morning

    Fun Games for Baby Chess

  • I played in the Wild Boar tournament this past Saturday up in Fort Collins. It was a 4 Round G/45 tournament. I enjoying playing in coffee shops, and it is a nice place to play.

    The last Wild Boar tournament that I played in took quite a while to be rated, but the TDs said that this problem has been resolved, and this past tournament should be rated quickly. I know my friend Dean Brown was eager to get the rating points that he earned from beating me in round 2 last month!

    I ended up in a tie for second in the U1800 with Anthea. We didn’t have to play each other, and since we drove up together that was nice. I missed a couple good moves, but overall was pretty happy with my play.

  • I have been playing around with a new iPhone app called “forks and skewers”, which I really like. It is based on Michael de la Maza’s ideas.

    The author Mike Anderson wrote to me:


    A couple years back I read Michael de la Maza’s “rapid chess improvement”. I was intrigued by the idea of chess drills. Especially since I helped out my daughter’s third grade class with a “chess club” and was looking for simple ways to introduce tactics to beginning players.

    Being a programmer I immediately set off modifying my hobby chess AI project to incorporate a chess drill. After years of fiddling around I’ve published an iPad app called forksandskewers. If you’ve got an iPad check it out, I’d love to know what you think of it.

    Here is a screen shot from the program.


    I am a big fan of becoming “Brilliant on the Basics”, and I think that this app really does a good job of that. The problems are a very unique idea to looking at the fundamentals and building blocks of chess tactics.

    Basically for each problem there is a King, and another piece. You have to find the squares where you can win the piece using your Queen. It can be by a fork, skewer, or trapping the piece.

    There is a timer that keeps track of how long you take, and the program keeps track of squares that you got correct, missed, and got wrong

    For only 99 cents the program is certainly worth getting. I think that it makes for a great “warm up” tool before a tournament

  • I’m honored to be one of the judges in this year’s Best of Chess Life Online awards! Here is a post from USCF, with brief bios of all the judges.

  • Funny review of my chess book by “Middle Aged Patzer”

  • Tactics Time was also featured in Stephen Dann’s Sunday Chess Column yesterday:

  • It is interesting to see that a lot of new chess books are being put out on Kindle. They are of various degrees of quality.

    There are a lot of advantages of publishing on Kindle that I see most of these books taking advantage of.

    Most of these books have a fairly low price, and include a lot of diagrams, so that you do not need a board to read the book, which is nice.

    Some of the books could use some editing and proofreading. Some have broken English, and typos and other things that are typical of self published works. I know my book also suffered from small typos and errors, but the nice thing is that you can publish updates. I am really grateful to my readers that have sent me corrections.

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